Creating a new 2012 diary for Jane

Diary 2012 - work-in-progress
Jane’s new diary for 2012 – work in progress

Jane’s been looking for a diary for 2012.

She wants one that allows her to see a week at a glance, with separate columns for each of the family members, separated into blocks for morning, afternoon and evening activities.

There are similar diaries available, but none that also have photographs of our family within the pages. Or our key phone numbers printed on the inside cover.

So I’m making one for her, and will get it printed at Lulu, or similar. It should cost around £10.

The image above is work-in-progress; I’m using Microsoft Publisher 2010 and Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3.

Will – trailer for my cousin’s new film

In 2005 my American cousin Zack sent me a draft screenplay for a film he and his girlfriend were working on. In short, it was about a football-crazy schoolboy, Will, who travels half-way across Europe to watch the cup final in which his favourite team are playing.

Well, the film has now been made and that’s the trailer for it (above)!

I still have the two early drafts of the screenplay which Zack sent me to see if was British enough, and to enable me to do some research for the film, which was great fun to do!

Jane and I caught up with Zack last year in London just as filming was about to begin. Casting had just finished with Damien Lewis (Band of Brothers, Life, Dreamcatcher, etc.) and Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Hook, Brazil, etc.) taking lead roles.

I just heard today that the film—now called simply Will—will be screening at the Cannes Film Market (Marché du Film) this week.

Good luck Zack, we’ll be thinking of you.

Highlights of a sunny day

Reuben and Joshua throwing stones into a rock pool

Today has been a lovely, if exhausting day packed with friends, family and a lot of laughs. A few highlights:

  • Waking up at 06:30 and spending an hour in the cuddly company of a very smiley Isaac.
  • Washing the car with Reuben and Joshua. There I was on my knees washing a wheel when all of a sudden Reuben’s face appeared round the car. “He he he he!” he laughed before soaking me in the face with the hose.
  • Joshua finished washing the gas meter box (a project instigated at his own initiative), stood back and said “Well, that looks lovely!”
  • A walk to the pig farm to the east of Cellardyke with Reuben, Joshua, Isaac, Jane and friends Joy and Dusty, during which Reuben and Joshua spent most of their time throwing stones into a rock pool (see photo above).
  • Dinner and chat with friends.

I love my children, my wife and my friends. I’d better get to bed: I’m on child-minding duties tomorrow morning again.

Getting ready for Baby 3.0

I took a holiday this week so that we could focus on getting the house ready for Baby 3.0 who is due to be born sometime after 20 January 2011.  We didn’t want to get to the end of December and suddenly panic that we’d not done anything.

We had three big tasks:

  1. Buy a bigger car.
  2. Buy some furniture for Baby 3.0’s bedroom..
  3. Drive to Dunoon to collect a cot from Jane’s sister.

It’s now Tuesday evening and we’ve completed all three tasks.  How efficient are we?!

1. Buy a bigger car

Citroën Grand C4 Picasso
Citroën Grand C4 Picasso (photo from

We currently own a Vauxhall Vectra Estate.  It’s a massive car.  It’s black and it looks like a hearse.  It’s great for getting Reuben and Joshua’s car seats into and the boot is the size of a small country which makes it perfect for carrying the Baby Jogger double pushchair.  But it’s not big enough to carry another baby seat.

What we need now is a Compact MPV and from what we’ve read and tried out already we’re going to need a 7-seater in order to accommodate three children under three years old, a double buggy, and whatever luggage we also need to cart about with us.

So, armed with research-she’d-done-on-the-internet Jane went out on Saturday afternoon with Joshua to check out a couple of car showrooms in Dundee, while Reuben and I stayed at home and played with cars.  Toy cars, that is.

On Sunday afternoon Jane took me to see a light blue Ford S-Max.  It was lovely, the test drive was fun and the price was about £3,000 too high.  So we walked away but with details of a similar model in Armadale.

On Monday afternoon we drove away from Armadale having bought a Citroën Grand C4 Picasso that we’d test driven.  It looks like a nice car, it’s practical, it’s the right size and it was also the right price.   By trading in the Vectra we’ll also get about £500 back which can’t be bad.

I also discovered that the car salesman had lived in my hometown of Selkirk during the 1980s.

2. Buy some furniture for Baby 3.0’s bedroom.

Wardrobe and chest of drawers
Wardrobe and chest of drawers in Baby #3’s room

Ikea was wonderfully deserted late on Monday afternoon We were in and out in no time, and managed to get out without buying something that wasn’t on our shopping list.  Not even a bag of Daim bars.

I built the furniture today while Jane …

3. Drive to Dunoon to collect a cot from Jane’s sister.

… drove to Dunoon to collect a cot from her sister.  In fact, she’s just got back so I’ll go and say hello.  I’ll unpack the car in the morning.

Life with Reuben and Joshua

Joshua and Reuben

Joshua (left) with Reuben, taken on 26 April 2009.

I can hardly believe that it’s been nearly 7 months since Reuben and Joshua were born. (It will be 7 calendar months a week tomorrow.) On the whole, it’s been a really amazing journey so far.

I’ve often thought that I should be writing this down, if not on my blog then in a private journal, but I’ve just been too tired. And those few occasions where I have had the space I’ve either not had the inspiration or have had too many other priorities clamouring for attention — the little things of everyday life that I took for granted with my oceans of available time.

The hardest thing

Before Reuben and Joshua were born when I spoke with parents about caring for babies they all said the same thing: that the hardest thing would be the lack of sleep.

But it’s not. The hardest thing that I found was the crying.

And the babies’ crying came a close second!

Seriously though, it took me a good 3-4 months to get used to their crying. To not take it personally, and to really begin to listen to what it was; listening to the nuances of their cries, which cries mean “I’m tired” or “I’m hungry” or simply “I’m winding down towards sleep now”.

Until then, and the lack of sleep really didn’t help, I found myself getting more and more wound up and angry at myself for feeling annoyed that they wouldn’t sleep when really that’s what I most wanted to do. That was the hardest bit really.

Thankfully, things are a lot easier now. I’m much calmer and am getting more sleep; I’m probably getting about 5 hours a night which is all I really need, to be honest. Reuben and Joshua are also sleeping longer now from around 19:00 – 23:00 when we wake them for a night/dream feed. Then they sleep through to anywhere between 04:30 and 07:00.

The best thing

The best thing though is simply Reuben and Joshua. They are adorable! We could not hope for two more wonderfully content and lovely babies.

It’s funny, I don’t think of them as babies — I just think of them as a very young Reuben and Joshua. And we don’t call them “the twins” either. They are always “Reuben and Joshua” (and always in that order, it’s a chronological thing!).

I love spending time with them.

Someone gave us a page-a-day calendar that has all these baby-related quotations on them. Yesterday’s said

Children spell ‘love’: t-i-m-e.

And I thought, well that’s not strictly true, is it? Apostrophes have quite complex grammatical rules that most children probably don’t fully grasp. And that sentence doesn’t take into account non-English speaking children. A child in France, for example, wouldn’t spell ‘love’ like that. Or in Germany.

Recent developments

There have been so many changes over the last few months, but last week Reuben and Joshua both began to sit up, which has transformed them from these flailing babies lying on the floor — and beginning to roll over onto their fronts and back again — to beginning to really look like little boys. It’s been a delight to watch.

This morning they took their first breakfasts sitting in their new Ikea high chairs.

It’ll be exciting to see what tomorrow brings. I promise I’ll start to blog more … but for now, I’ve got a sermon to finish for Sunday!